In what quickly became a truncated season due to the college’s closure as a result of fears over COVID-19 and the suspension of spring sports, the baseball team opened its season with a resounding 14-7 victory over conference opponent Bowdoin last Monday, March 9.
Andrew Nagel ’21 received the opening day start for the Mammoths and hit trouble early in the first inning, when the Polar Bears were able to string together two hits to push one run across.
The Mammoths would respond quickly in the bottom of the first inning, when Daniel Qin’s ’22 single was followed by the season’s first runs, courtesy of Joe Palmo ’21, who hit his first homerun of the season over the right field fence to put the Mammoths ahead 2-1. Bowdoin would score again in the top of the second to even the score, 2-2.
The Mammoths would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game, pouring on the runs in the bottom of the second inning, scoring three runs to make the score 5-2.
Standout performances came from Stephen Burke ’21, Severino Simeone ’20 and Will Murphy ’20, who each logged three hits on the day, with Burke and Simeone also knocking in three runs batted in apiece.
On the hill, Nagel received the win, pitching five innings and only allowing two earned runs. Sachin Nambiar ’22 came in and completed the game, pitching the final four frames to clinch the 14-7 win for the mammoths.
The Mammoths were back in action the next day on March 10, against Rivier University, who came to Amherst after the rest of the Mammoths’ season had been cancelled. The Mammoths dominated the game from start to finish.
The first inning saw the Mammoths push six runs across. Palmo again set the tone early for the Mammoths, with the first runs of the game coming off a massive three run home run over the center field fence that landed a good 50 feet beyond the outfield fence.
Murphy was also instrumental in this first inning, logging two different at bats that scored runners for the Mammoths in the frame.
The Mammoths would go on to score a total of six runs in that first inning, adding another three in the next frame to go up 9-0 after two innings. Amherst would score an unbelievable 25 runs in the game, winning by the score of 25-7.
Burke and Palmo again stood out for the Mammoths on the day, with Palmo knocking three runners in on three hits. Burke had four hits on the day and an astounding eight runs batted in on the evening.
Another bright spot was the debut of first-year Javier Irizarry ’23, who started his first collegiate game at third base. Irizarry posted video game stats, going 3/4 with five runs batted in. In the 6th inning, Irizarry bombed a three-run homer over the right field fence, with the Mammoth dugout erupting soon after his first college homerun.
The game was halted after eight innings due to the impending darkness that made the conditions unplayable. The 25 runs the Mammoths scored tied the team’s program record.
The Mammoths will conclude their truncated season with an impromptu contest at home against longtime archrivals Williams. The team has committed to play each of its seniors on the day, in what will likely be their final contest representing the purple and white of Amherst College.
While it is tough for players to swallow having their season cancelled, it is undeniable how deep of a positive impact the Amherst baseball seniors have made on their team and campus. The group of eight helped win a 2018 NESCAC Championship, and includes community leaders from a Student Athlete Advisory Council President to an “It’s On Us” campaign initiating member, the athletic department’s department-wide effort at preventing and stopping sexual violence on college campuses.